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Gay Paris : Ladies And Gentlemen, May We Present To You: The Dark Arts

★★★★

Remember this proverb? "Metalheads don't dance, it's why they head bang." Not true, not any more. With a deep focus on arse-shaking grooves, Gay Paris play burlesque metal. It's not without precedent; think of bands like Danko Jones, Diablo Swing Orchestra, and Queens of the Stone Age to a degree. But I'll be damned if anyone does it better than Gay Paris.
 
From beginning to end, The Dark Arts embodies rock’n'roll black magic. Riffs sizzle, bludgeon and inspire the most damnable of lewd acts. Guitars wail like dangerous beasts set loose. A Lemmy and Tom Waits shaped spirit takes hold of frontman Wailin’ H Monks, and the band sound like they’ve returned from Hell's most nefarious cabaret.
 
The foursome filter swathes of notorious traits into their jams. It Sleeps in Cavespounding thunder evokes the world's strangest striptease; gang choruses kick She Haunts Every Dance Floor into gear; knives stab out from murder-ballad The Dirt Eaters; the devil comes over to party in Flintlock Barbara Goes Boom; and If Beasts Pray beats desert rock at its own decadent game.
 
If the Sydneysiders’ previous album The Last Good Party trashed the room, Dark Arts brings the entire house down. It’s fuelled by filthy blues, white-knuckle licks and lines of uncut party rhythms. In the Gay Paris pit, it's a case of get busy dancing or get busy dying.
 
BY TOM VALCANIS